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By Fred Altieri
Sports Reporter 

Brooke Henderson wins at Wilshire Country Club


April 29, 2021

Fred Altieri

Brooke Henderson, LPGA winner last week in Los Angeles.

The clear winners on late Saturday afternoon under the Hollywood sign were Brooke Henderson and her fellow LPGA members. Henderson shot a pair of 67's on the weekend to win the 2021 LPGA Premia LA Open Hugel-Air at the very challenging Wilshire Country Club golf course in the heart of Hancock Park.

It was Henderson's 10th career victory on the LPGA Tour against a field worthy of a Hollywood script as the leaderboard kept rewriting itself in the final round. The 10th victory also gave Henderson more victories than any professional Canadian golfer competing on a major golf tour.

"Yeah, unreal. It's pretty crazy," exclaimed Henderson. "To get my ninth win was such a big deal in Canada, and then since then I been just trying to chase that tenth one. To get it here. I'm just so happy and it's hard to believe."

Henderson started the final round in the last grouping, trailing 3rd-Round leader Jessica Korda by three strokes and Jin Young Ko by two. Three birdies helped Henderson make the turn at -14, trailing Ko by one stroke and now tied with Korda, who had a couple of bogeys on the front nine. A birdie on the very short 268-yard, par 4, 14th hole was key for Henderson.

"I was definitely disappointed that I missed the green there but fortunately I had a lot of green to work with," said Henderson. "My lie wasn't great, so Brit probably said it's going to come in low and hot, and it did a little bit. But, to catch the hole and make birdie there it was definitely a huge momentum change. And I think that's probably what won it today."

Brooke was referring to sister Brittany Henderson, who has been her caddie for the past eight LPGA Tour victories beginning in 2016. The birdie put Henderson at -17, three strokes ahead of Ko and Korda, who had just bogeyed the 14th. "Really frustrating, really couldn't get anything going. I was hitting it really good and then just it wasn't happening for me for some reason," said Korda, who finished in second, one stroke behind.

But Korda was overall satisfied with her week's effort on the tough but fair Wilshire layout: "I'm really glad that I was able to make birdie on 18, get myself out of the tie for second. So at least solo. And there is a really a lot of positives to take out of this week, and that's exactly what I'm going to do."

Ko finished in a tie for third with Hannah Green. The gray weather and windy conditions added a bit more bite to the course according to Ko: "Yeah, it was tough. Wind was difficult out there but good thing is I finished in the top three and I haven't practiced before the tournament because I had injured my (wrist). So, I didn't practice before each round, but I finished great still." Ko joked: "I will not going to practice before the tournament I guess."

Henderson made things interesting on the final hole, overshooting the Par 3, 18th hole while placing her ball in the tight depression behind the green. "Yeah, 18 was definitely very clutch," replied Henderson. "That is not where I wanted that tee shot to be, so to be able to get up and down there for the win was really cool, especially just after Jessica made such a great shot and put a lot of pressure on me to make par."

As soon as Henderson made the winning putt, she received a bottled water shower from Ko, who remarked: "Well, we played many times. I won in CP 2019 and I played with Brooke and she celebrated for me, so I wanted to celebrate with her. It was a great honor to play with Brooke when she won, so I'm happy."

Despite the sign of the times due to COVID protocol traveling restrictions, Henderson and her sister Brit were still able to share a call from their family in Canada via a phone app during the Champion award ceremonies.

"I'm really grateful that my parents got me into the game and that my sister and I have been able to share this journey together. It's really important to have fun in whatever you choose to do and have somebody that you can share the journey with, because it makes it that much more special," related Henderson.

And with victory comes the well-deserved spoils for the 23-year old Canadian sensation. "It's kind of worked out really nicely that we decided to not go to Asia. We have three weeks off and spend it in Florida with my sister and brother-in-law. And I am sure we'll come up with a few great ways celebrate."


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